New, bold and global
Hormel Foods Sales LLC, a division of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel, has several heat-and-eat options for its customers, says Megan Ward, the company’s associate brand manager.
The lineup includes Hormel- branded entrees, Lloyd’s barbeque products and premium prepared protein options that are sold as retailer-branded solutions in the deli department.
“We offer a variety of proteins —pork, chicken, beef and turkey — as well as numerous flavor profiles to make meal preparation as easy as possible,” Ward says. “We are always listening to our customers and consumers and making sure that we have product options for every lifestyle and preference.”
Top heat-and-eat sellers for Hormel include beef tips, pot roast and meatloaf. The company also continues to see expansion of its store-branded solutions to include new ethnic flavors and varieties. And, Ward adds, “We're also always looking at the latest BBQ trends from new sauces to new smoke flavors.”
Hormel’s top heat-and-eat performers haven’t changed much in the past few years, Ward says. “Beef items dominate the top of the list, in addition to having a strong following for BBQ rib tips.”
As far as trends go, Hormel has seen a shift toward new and bold flavors, and an uptick in consumers who are looking for convenient, fresh, ready-to-heat meats to serve their families that “always deliver on taste.”
Global proteins and ethnic flavors also are becoming more mainstream, and Hormel is taking advantage.
“We're collaborating with our Hormel Foodservice team on restaurant-quality proteins that pack intense flavors,” Ward says. “Think beef bulgogi, Mediterranean chicken, carnitas and barbacoa.”
This summer, Hormel is set to launch additional products with a global feel, Ward says.
Quick chicken fix
Homewood, Illinois-based Carl Buddig and Co.’s Fix Quix product line was introduced in 2009 to provide consumers with a convenient, better-for-you healthy protein to easily enhance salads, recipes, wraps, and more, says Tom Buddig, the company’s executive vice president of marketing.
And consumers will notice a new look to Fix Quix as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary.
“We recently reintroduced Fix Quix to meet changing consumer needs with a new premium clear tray that’s resealable to maximize freshness,” Buddig says.
Each package of Fix Quix comes with pre-cut strips of tender, flame-grilled chicken that provide 20 grams of protein and only 100 calories per serving. Fix Quix Chicken Strips are 97% fat free, gluten free, and available in two varieties: grilled chicken and southwest flavor.
Buddig says that changing eating habits in the U.S. favor the development of heat-and-eat products like Fix Quix. For instance, Port Washington, New York-based NPD Group, a global market research company, found that four out of five meals are prepared at home, and that Americans are preparing more meals at home today than they did a decade ago.
What’s different, Buddig says, is how they’re eating at home.
“Consumers are combining a blend of dishes prepared and items purchased ready-to-eat,” Buddig says. “This trend is expected to continue and rise.”
Thanks to recent growth in its physical footprint, Buddig is poised to continue to deliver heat-and-eat solutions to its customers in the future —and to develop new products for the category as needed.
“We’ve acquired new production facilities to expand our capabilities and manufacturing footprint,” Buddig says. “Expansion makes good business sense for Buddig as we expand our portfolio of fresh, great-tasting, affordable meats.”
Bob Buddig, the company’s CEO, says the expansion gives the company immediate access to an attractive pre-cooked BBQ segment (through the addition of Kingsford-branded products) and allows it to strategically grow its nationwide footprint.
In addition to the expansion into Kingsford licensed ready-to-eat BBQ ribs and entrees, the company also has a line of grilling sausages, bratwurst, and wieners under the Old Wisconsin brand in the upper Midwest.
“These convenient heat and eat products have the real, hardwood smoked taste that Old Wisconsin is known for, and Old Wisconsin Smokehouse wieners are No. 2 in sales in the state of Wisconsin,” says Tom Buddig.
Branding has proven to be a natural fit in the heat-and-eat meat category. Vernon, California-based Golden West Food Group’s Completely Fresh Foods’ Jack Daniel’s-branded BBQ meats have been a hit with consumers across the country.
According to Completely Fresh Foods, the company saw in Jack Daniel’s a commitment to quality and using traditional techniques that Completely Fresh applies to its own food products.
Jack Daniel’s grocery retail heat-and-eat meats are smoked with barrelwood chips and made in small batches using only the best spices.
The line features products marinaded in Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 and products marinated in its newer Tennessee Honey whiskey.
The nine SKUs in the Old No. 7 lineup include ribs, beef sirloin, brisket, tri tip, pulled pork and ham. The seven Tennessee Honey SKUs include ribs, chicken strips, pulled chicken, pulled pork and steak strips.